Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
As I was driving down to the coast, it was overcast and it looked like it might rain. But as I arrived, it had become a perfect day without a cloud in sight. I was excited to be out on the streets again this week (after having a break for Easter) and I knew the team would be of a decent size again today. Rick, Glenda, and about 6 people from Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship joined us again this week. I thank God for raising up more labourers who are keen to proclaim the gospel at the Gold Coast.
There was a guy named Jason in his early twenties who walked by and Rick tried offering him a tract. He rejected it, saying that he was closed to anything to do with Christianity. Later on, I offered him a tract (not knowing Rick had already tried to). He briefly looked at it, asking what it was and then gave it back, saying he wasn’t interested. So I asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven. He said, “We cannot know where we will end up.” He then expressed his doubts about what is really true regarding religion and eternity, and asked why he should believe what Jesus said. So I explained that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is an absolute verification of His claims, and then gave some reasons why we can trust the gospel accounts when it records his resurrection. Such as, embarrassing facts, the origin of the disciples’ belief in the resurrection, multiple attestations - all providing evidence to think that the historical documents written by the gospel authors were actually accurate (see this post on the Apologetics Blog for more information). They seemed to make sense in his mind.
After talking to him for about half an hour, I challenged him to read the Bible. As he had never really read much of it. So I challenged him to read it first before dismissing it. He agreed to this, and then was willing to take a tract and read it. So I thanked him and he started to walk off. But this guy saw Rick, and Rick was in another conversation at the time. But he said, “Sorry to interrupt you, but I have got to say I’ve changed my mind. I am now open to this stuff; I will now read my Bible. This is truly from my heart.” Praise God that he can change even the most hard-hearted person and make him to be open to the gospel.
After having a bit to eat, we returned to our usual spot and I got up to preach. I started by reading the parable of the rich man who built bigger barns to store all his crops, and used it to show that so many people in society just live their life striving to achieve a certain status in society, or to own a certain amount of cars or houses, or to acquire a certain amount of university degrees. But what use is all that at death? I then went onto explain that there is a day of judgement coming where how we have lived will be seen and judged by God, and since we’ve all fallen short of His standard, we need forgiveness. And that forgiveness is only through the death of Jesus.
A bunch of Middle Easterns had been listening for a little bit and then one of them decided to ask a question, “If faith saves, why not simply go living in sin?” So I explained repentance, the natural thing that will follow the genuine faith that a person has in Jesus. She then asked, “If praying and other good things do not get a person to Heaven, why do them?” I talked about how the gratitude we have for Jesus for what Jesus has done for us and the love we now have for him will make us want to do good things. But it’s not like those good things will save us at all.
Another guy piped up asking, “How many Bibles do you have?” This seems to be a usual Muslim argument, but one simply based on ignorance. So I asked him, “Do you read Greek or Hebrew?” He said, “No”. I continued, “Well they were the languages that the Bible was written in, and since most people no longer know those languages, there has to be translation committees who translate the text from the original languages to the languages of today. Since there is not always a word that is exactly equivalent in our languages to the original languages, decisions need to made how they will translate it. People have differing opinions about this and that is why there are quite a lot of different English Bibles. No English Bible is actually inspired of God, only the original manuscripts were, but if you examine the English Bibles you can see that they all agree with each other pretty much everywhere in the meaning of the text.”
The Muslim fellow recognised he was way out of his depth, and so he asked another question, “Name one of the author’s of the Bible” So I answered, “The Apostle Paul”. He then asked, “What was Paul’s last name?” By this question he thought he had found the absolute shut down argument against Christianity, and he began celebrating. So I responded, “Last names did not come about till around the middle ages.” The crowd was utterly confused at this Muslim man, for they had no idea how that argument at all was any good at refuting Christianity. The man soon after walked off.
A bunch of young ladies came in right in front of me and after a while, one of them gave a thumbs up to me. So I asked her, “Are you a Christian?” She said, “No.” So I then went through with the ladies the good person test, seeing if they have lived up to God’s standards. Like the rest of humanity, they hadn’t. So I then warned them that their sins make them deserve eternal Hell, but there is a Saviour Jesus Christ. A number of them seemed very convicted by what they heard, please pray that God will draw them to Himself.
I praise God for the faithfulness of the rest of the team, who spread many seeds of the gospel today, in both tracts and speech. Please pray that God will give those seeds growth.
To God be the glory!
As I arrived to our usual witnessing area in Surfers Paradise, Rick and Glenda were already there busily handing out tracts. They had arrived about an hour early, as they had to leave the outreach earlier than usual. It is really great to see them both so keen for witnessing that they do it even before the rest of the team arrives.
Today was a unique day, as just recently a local Church had finished their evangelism training programme, and so they wanted to all hit the streets together and put what they had learnt into practice. So there were about fourteen of them, making today's team definitely larger than usual.
Before those guys arrived, Rick and Glenda had gotten into a conversation with two Mormon ladies from New Zealand. Rick called me over after a number of minutes asking if it says anywhere in the Bible that we were all pre-existing, as this Mormon lady was claiming the Bible did say it. I told her that in the beginning was just God, and He made everything (Gen. 1:1).
I then tried directing the conversation to talking about salvation, and how she thinks a person is saved. She said that if a person doesn't get all their sins worked off in this life by doing good, they can be worked off after they die. I was happy to hear a Mormon actually admit that their doctrine of salvation is actually work-righteousness, for so often they like to claim it's all by grace, yet in actuality they believe in salvation by works.
So I pointed Scriptures to her, such as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Galatians 2:16 which both talk about salvation not being by our works. Instead of addressing those Scriptures, she diverted the conversation by asking, "What is the work of God?" I then said, "Jesus Himself was asked that very question, and so let's take a look at what He said." I then turned to John 6:28-29 - 'Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”'
She, first of all, had a problem with the Bible we were using, because it was a New King James at the time, and not the King James. So I said, "Here, I have the King James Version right here on my phone." I then read it out to her. She followed along and said, "No keep reading" So I did.
"So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”"
At that, she exclaimed, "See! It mentioned 'work' three times in that passage. We are saved by our works!" She was fully serious, and so it was hard to hold back the laughter. I tried explaining to her that even though it says 'work' in that passage, it doesn't talk at all about working for our salvation. In fact, it pretty clearly states the opposite, Jesus was exhorting them to 'believe in him whom he has sent.' Faith not works.
I challenged her whether she could really know that she was going to go to Heaven and whether she believed in and followed the real Jesus. She then stated, "Of course I do, the Church that I go to is called, 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints'! So I definitely follow Jesus." I had to be to the point with her, and so I said, "Look, by what you've been saying, believing you are saved by your works and so on, shows that you aren't actually a Christian. And the reason I am telling you this is because I don't want you to get the surprise of your life when on Judgement Day God would have to say to you 'Depart from me I knew you.'" I then turned to the passage in Matthew 7 where Jesus said this and read it out to her. I explained that the people Jesus would reject are those who proclaim to have done many good works, but those works did not save them. But she rebutted, "This can't be the Bible, for there are no summaries at the start of the chapter telling us what the chapter means!"
She continued, "Both Revelation and Matthew so clearly teach salvation by works." We asked where abouts exactly, but she couldn't point to any verses. So we explained the real way a person is saved to her, not by their works, but by grace through faith alone, because of Christ's death alone. She wasn't very open and had taken offence that we would even think that she was not a Christian. She kept stating that she was born a Christian because her parents are. Rick responded, "If I was born in MacDonald's, it wouldn't make me a hamburger." After a bit further discussion, she said that she didn't want to talk about it anymore, and so we thanked her for her time and said goodbye.
By this time, the Church group had since arrived and were already handing out tracts. They all seemed very keen, which was awesome to see! They were all anxiously waiting to see someone preach in the open air, as most of them had seen Ray Comfort do it on DVDs, but they wanted to see it done in real life. So after not too long, I got up on the council provided preaching block and told a true story about a man who drove the wrong way up the freeway in Sydney for 50km without realising it. I used that story to show that even though many people think they're heading in the right direction, heading for Heaven, it could be that they are mistaken. They don't realise they're heading in the wrong direction. This story is an interesting one, and so it attracted a crowd, but I didn't do any call outs to try and get hecklers because I didn't know who was part of the Church group and who wasn't. So I preached the awesome news of the gospel, calling everyone who was listening to repent and believe.
I then noticed one particular fellow who was listening intently, so I called out to him, asking, "Do you think you'll go to Heaven?" He thought so because he was stand-up bloke. So I went through the commandments, showing him that in fact we are all sinners deserving of God's judgement forever. This seemed to concern him, so I told him that there is a Saviour, Jesus Christ, and that His death can atone for all of this fellow's sins. When I share the gospel with a person, I always try and see if they actually understand what the gospel is at the end of it. So I commonly ask, "If God was to ask you the question, 'Why should I let you into Heaven?' What would you now say?" This guy didn't get it at first, so I explained the gospel again to him and it seemed to click.
However at this point, a very loud women started to heckle. She started complaining about how bad the Church is, that all Christians are bad people and God doesn't care about the world. She explained that she had tried going to some Church's for help, but they didn't help her. She asked why God would let her be in an abusive relationship and not do something about it. So I responded by saying, "God will definitely make sure all the injustices that people commit in the world will be dealt with one day. And God has given us governments to maintain justice in society in the meantime. Governments are instituted by God and we are to obey them." At this point, a regular heckler piped up talking about how rubbish governments are. Not to let the discussion go off the topic at hand, I told the regular heckler to wait his turn. I then addressed the lady again, explaining that not everyone who says they are a Christian is actually one. And even though a person might have bad experiences with Christians, that is not a rational reason to dismiss Jesus. She explained that she had been living on the streets for a number of weeks due to her abusive husband. At this point, a person part of the group from the Church went up to her and gave her $40. She was ecstatic and very appreciative of the generous gesture.
Since the lady had been very loud and vocal, it had caused a sizeable crowd to gather. So I made sure to preach the gospel to everyone listening, as the lady didn't seem interested in talking any further at this point.
After preaching for about 45 minutes, I stepped down and had a conversation with a person who had been listening near my feet. I asked him what he believed. He explained that he knew every religion was wrong, especially Christianity. He claimed this because he said Christianity had been copied from other belief systems. So I asked him, "Even if that was so, does that prove that the beliefs of Christianity are wrong?" His face changed, and he seemed to realise the flaw of his thinking. I continued, "Furthermore, similarities between two books does not necessitate copying. Moreover, in actuality there aren't really many similarities at all!" He resorted to saying, "Well I still do kinda believe in God" I was able to briefly share the gospel with him, but he wasn't very open.
At this point, we all had lunch as a team. The team did an excellent job today, handing out lots of tracts and many conversations were had too. There were so many of us, that we had to split up and go to different locations. That's a great problem to have!
To God be the glory!
I was glad to be out on the streets again today, even though I was the only one on the team. The Gold Coast City Council had set up a big Christmas tree in Cavill Avenue, but the area was still mostly deserted. It seems the Global Financial Crisis has taken a bit of a toll on the tourism at the Gold Coast. Another big factor I think is the construction works they are doing down there, for they have taken out lots of the seats in Cavill and along the Esplanade.
One of the first conversations I had was with a guy named Jason. He was about 25 and obviously works out. When I asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven, he explained that his parents actually go to Hillsong. They've been constantly pleading with him to convert. He said that he knew he should one of these days, but he thought he wasn't ready yet. I then asked him what he thinks a person must do to be saved, for his parents possibly told incorrect things. He responded, "Go to Church and do good things." So I then spent next few minutes explaining that no one is good in God's sight and we can only be saved through the finished work of Christ on the cross. At the end of the conversation he thanked me greatly for the wake up call.
I then saw Tom, a mid-twenties guy who lives in Surfers and I regularly see. It was good to catch up and answer a lot of the new questions he had, and always bring it back to the gospel. He explained that he just loves sinning and doesn't want to turn from them. I asked him why he gets drunk about every weekend. He said it was boredom, he had nothing else to do. I explained that there are so many other things that he could do instead and gave him some suggestions. The conversation went for about half an hour, constantly pleading with him to come to Christ, but his heart was very hard. Please pray that God softens his heart.
As I was walking back to my car, I was handing out the million note tracts, one bloke called me back asking about it. He said he was a Christian and attends an Evangelical Lutheran Church. When I asked him how he thinks a person is saved, he responded, "If they believe and are baptised they will be saved". I asked, "And be baptised?". He responded, "Yes." So I asked him whether he believed passages like Ephesians 2:8-9 that talk about being saved completely by grace through faith and not through any of our own works. He said he did.
I then asked, "Was the thief on the cross baptised?" He responded, "Well we don't know if he wasn't baptised before he was put up on the cross." I said, "It's unlikely seeing as though he was a horrible criminal, and secondly, does not the baptism need to follow the faith, not precede it?" He agreed with this.
He then responded by asking, "So do you ignore the verse in Mark 16:16 that says if you believe and are baptised you will be saved?". I responded, "No, but you've got to take all the passages in the Bible and see what they say and not just a single verse." He agreed with this. So I explained that the overwhelming majority of passages regarding salvation talk about it being through faith that a person is saved, not baptism. I then went onto show him how even in Mark 16:16, the second half of the sentence says: "But whoever does not believe will be condemned." It doesn't mention baptism there as something someone will be condemned for. At this point, it seemed to click in his mind. And so he said, "I actually agree with you now."
Another great day of outreach, to God be the glory!
Rick, Glenda, Chris, and I were all part of the Gold Coast team today, and after arriving we firstly spent some time in prayer. Then we began handing out gospel tracts. There didn't seem to be that many people about. However, there were definitely remnants of schoolies who were still there. But it seemed the schoolies had made all the locals and other tourists leave. So that is why I didn't preach straight away.
I had few good conversations, one was with three Catholics who were from Europe. One of them had chatted to a Christian just recently who pointed out the vast differences there are between the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity. These guys had further questions on that. After explaining the difference on how one is saved, whether it is completely by grace through faith alone (as the Bible teaches), or whether it's by grace initially then a person must work to attain eternal life (as the Roman Catholic Church teaches), these guys sided with that latter option. I pointed to various passages in the Bible, such as Eph 2:8-9, and these guys said that the Bible has been changed. I was not expecting to hear that from a Catholic, usually Muslims say that but not Catholics. However, they couldn't provide any proof to support such a claim. So I clearly explained the gospel and pleaded with the guys to trust in it alone for their forgiveness. The conversation lasted about 25 minutes.
Just before we were going to have lunch, I got into a conversation with a man named Abbey. He was from Sydney and when I asked him whether he thought he was going to Heaven, he responded: "Yes". His reason for thinking that he said was that he though he was good enough and had done enough good. He said that he grew up in the Church, but recently had stopped going. So I simply showed him that none of us are good in the sight of God, for we all sin. And since God is just, He cannot overlook sin and so therefore the sin that we commit makes us deserving of Hell. He understood that, so then I shared the news about Christ's death on the cross to pay for our sins. He said it made sense. To check whether a person I am talking to actually does understand the gospel, I like to ask: "If God was to ask you, 'Why should I let you into Heaven?' What would you say?" So I asked the man that question. He responded that it was because of his own goodness. So I re-explained the gospel and after that second time he understood that it's own by Christ's death all his sins are forgiven. He said he would go home and repent and trust in Christ. Praise God!
As the afternoon progressed, it did get busier. And so after lunch I got up to preach and proclaimed the gospel for the remaining twenty minutes that we had.
Rick, Glenda and Chris all faithfully handed out heaps of gospel tracts. They also had some really good conversations.
Today was the first time we were using the new Operation 513 Million dollar notes with a gospel message on the back, and they worked wonderful. There were a couple of Japanese tour groups that walked by and we made sure they all got a tract. I have found, people from a certain Asian countries generally do not take tracts, but with something out of the ordinary like the Million dollar note and the Big $100 note tracts, it overcomes this barrier and so they take the tracts.
To God be the glory!
Today marked the first day of Schoolies for 2009, and we knew there would be lots of young people about at the Gold Coast. The Schoolies celebration is where about 35,000 year twelvers who have just graduated, spend about a week at the coast partying and hanging out with friends. Unfortunately, many of them spend their time getting drunk and doing all sorts of sinful activity. And since they are at a pivotal point of time in their life and often don't have much to do at Schoolies, we knew that this was a perfect opportunity to share the gospel with them.
So Blake, Lucy, Peter, and I arrived at the coast at 12pm and firstly had a time of prayer. We then got stuck into handing out gospel tracts. For the schoolies event, they had set up a lot of fences surrounding the Schoolies-only party area and there was a fence blocking the concrete block we usually preach from. But there was still an elevated concrete platform to the right of that spot that they had not fenced off. So we decided that that is where we would do some open air preaching that day. I brought a soap box and set it up at that location.
I then stood up to preach, speaking about how undoubtedly many school leavers at the Gold Coast have planned what they are going to do next year, and even what they are going to do this next week. But I pointed out that even though we have all these plans, we are never guaranteed that we'll be able to carry them out, as we could die at any moment. I then recounted the parable of the rich man building bigger barns to store his grain, which lead onto talking about eternity. I then spoke about the Day of Judgment to come, the fact that we've all sinned, and thus need the Saviour's forgiveness by His death on the cross.
After stepping down and tagging Blake in to preach after preaching a while, a Schoolies event security guy came up to us saying that we cannot preach here or hand out tracts. We asked why, he thought it was some council law, but we let him know that there isn't any council law against doing this. He then suggested for us to just go to the event security headquarters to ask them why they instructed him to tell us that weren't allowed to do this.
After finding the place where they were, they basically said that they have no authority to stop us doing what we're doing and so they said that we can keep doing it.
So after returning to the preaching area, I stood up to preach again, and within minutes two event security came up to me saying that I can't preach here. So I explained to them that we went to the event security HQ and that they themselves said they cannot stop us. I also then explained that we are here every single week. At that point, one of the security said, "No you're not, I've never seen you here". As he was saying that, a council cleaner was walking by, so I said, "Go ask him, he sees us every week." Then they responded, "But people don't want to hear you...Fine, do what you want." As they were walking away, a schoolie walking past called out, "Hey, you're the guys that preach here every week!"
So I resumed preaching and another schoolie shouted out, "Oh I saw these guys here last year!" (even though they didn't know about the conversation I had with the event security). At that point a very vocal schoolie began asking all sorts of questions which attracted a large crowd, and said that he loved having the discussion taking place. After answering his questions, I pointed him to the cross and exhorted him to repent and trust in the Saviour's death for forgiveness. During this, one of the event security guys returned and listened to the preaching for about 15 minutes before walking away.
After this, Blake did some further preaching as well. By this time it was 3:15pm, and we had run out of gospel tracts. This week was the first week we had the 3 new business-card size gospel tracts, and this week I gave the 'Good Aussie' card a test run and it worked great. I would ask people, "Did you get your good Aussie card?" and almost everyone was like, "Aussie? I'm an Aussie, I want one!" And even those who were not Aussie took one because they thought it was an Australian souvenir card. This tract is highly recommended.
At 3:30pm, Luke, Rhoi, Doug, and Greg arrived at the coast with lots of gospel tracts. While fellowshipping and handing out tracts, two police constables came up to us saying that we're not allowed to tout. I agreed, but then pointed out that we are not touting (that is selling products), instead that we're simply handing out Christian literature free of charge. They said that we're not even allowed to do that. I then pointed out that council has no problem with us doing what we're doing. As the conversation progressed, it turned from one where they were telling us to stop, to warning us that other police might tell us to stop and that they thought schoolies might not want to receive one. As the police were walking away, a Gold Coast City Council local law officer came up to us wondering what the police said, and he told us that it's perfectly fine to hand out gospel tracts. He just encouraged us to pick up any tracts that people might have dropped on the ground.
Soon after this, Blake and I left the four new arrivals to continue handing out tracts while we headed back to Brisbane for the team that was on that night in the city.
It was so evident today that God is truly sovereign. Whenever we ran into problems with authority trying to stop us proclaiming the gospel, God provided a way for it to continue.
God alone belongs all the glory!
Rick, Glenda, Chris and Blake joined me today at the Gold Coast and it was a beautiful sunny day. After praying together, we started our outreach. We noticed that there was a crowd already gathered near the area where we usually preach and so I thought it was a great idea to start preaching straight away.
After preaching for about half an hour, I stepped down and had a conversation with two guys on holidays from a nation in the pacific. They obviously had some sort of Catholic upbringing, for they mentioned that they plan on having their sins forgiven by a priest absolving them of it. So I explained the message of God's justice, that God cannot forgive them simply by going to a priest because God is good. Then I explained the message of God's grace, that Christ can take the wrath of God that they deserve on their behalf by dying for them if they repent and trust in the Saviour's death as the only reason they are saved. At that point, it seemed to 'click' in their mind, and thanked me very much for telling about it. They said they would think seriously about this and start reading the Bible.
Blake then did some preaching too and he faithfully proclaimed loud and clear the message of the gospel. After he got down from the preaching spot, he got into a discussion with a guy from Sydney. While at the same time I chatted to his mate. They both had some sort of Roman Catholic background, but the guy I spoke to was very keen on the idea of sin. He loved it and was unwilling to turn from it even though he knew the consequences of it.
Meanwhile, the guy Blake was talking to had a hard time understanding grace. Firstly, he thought he was saved by his works and that he was a very good guy. After showing him the extent of his sin, Blake explained the gospel. The conversation went for over an hour as Blake explained in many different ways the atonement that is only by grace through faith alone. By the end, he did seem to understand it.
After that, we had lunch together and had some good fellowship. It was Chris' second time out on the streets with us and she did a wonderful job again handing out tracts. Rick and Glenda have been very good guiding and teaching her how to evangelise. Rick and Glenda also handed out many tracts and had some good witnessing encounters today.
To God be the glory!
PS: If you are ever in the Gold Coast area, feel free to be part of the Gold Coast team, for as Jesus said, the workers are few but the harvest is plentiful. Please contact me for more information to be part of the team.
Today on the team we had Blake, Yarran, Dan, Ori and myself. It was warm day with the sun brightly shining. Just before Yarran, Dan and Ori arrived, Blake and I had a conversation with two middle-aged guys. One of the guys was rather strange, yelling at random times and changing topics constantly. He was arguing that the dead sea scrolls were discovered 400 years before Isaiah, yet he didn't present any evidence to support it, much less present a reason for arguing that.
He then went on to speak about how he thinks Genesis references aboringines in relation to the serpent being cursed. Like most things he said, I did not understand what he was trying to say. But I kept the conversation going, for while this was happening, Blake managed to have a conversation with the other fellow who seemed much more reasonable. I kept trying to bring back the conversation to sin, judgment, gospel, etc but the man just kept avoiding the topic. Blake told me afterwards that he had a conversation with the guy he chatted to where he was able to present the great news of Christ atoning death on the cross.
I was the preacher first up, and started off by talking about a day that is coming, and that is judgment day. After talking about sin, I preached about the great news of the salvation we have in Jesus. A few people heckled me for a bit, and afterwards I chatted to them further.
Blake then got up to preach, and a one point an older gentleman started yelling at Blake. He was saying, "Where is your badge? You cannot preach without a bradge identifying your religion! Show me your badge!" This grew a rather large crowd, and a number of the people listening defended Blake and responded to the man saying that we have freedom of speech in this country and people do not need badges in this country. They then pointed to Blake's Bible that he was holding and said that that is like his badge if you want him to have one. The man responded, "In my country, you need badge!! Where is your badge!" The man eventually left, but a crowd had gathered and so Blake was able to preach the gospel to them all.
The other three members of the team also faithfully handed out many gospel tracts and got into various conversations. Please pray that God will grow the seeds of the gospel that were planted in people's hearts today.
To God be the glory!
This weekend, the SuperGP cars were supposed to race on the streets of Surfers Paradise. They didn't end up coming and so only the V8 Supercars raced. However, there were still lots of people about and so Blake and I expected a busy day. After reading John 15 and praying together, we began our outreach. There were not many people around the area where we usually preach, so we decided to walk closer to the where the race was taking place to see if there were any places to preach there. There wasn't really, as the car noises would drown the preaching out. So we just made a circuit back to the esplanade, handing out tracts on the way.
By this time, more people were around the area where we usually preach, but unfortunately there was a guy sitting on the concrete block that we usually preach from. So we decided to continue handing out tracts while we wait for the man to move along. He didn't, even after waiting half an hour. So Blake and I then prayed that God would free up the preaching spot, and then read again some of the verses in John 15 regarding God answering prayer. And within 10 seconds of us doing this, the man moved off the preaching spot! Praise be to God!
I then began preaching and within minutes a large crowd had gathered. When I mentioned that getting drunk is a sin, a lot of the people were outraged at that thought. I also mentioned that Jesus said lust is adultery at the heart. And a lot of the males listening called out that that is the reason why they come to the Gold Coast, to do exactly that. I warned everyone that our sin makes us deserving of Hell, but that is why Jesus came to die on the cross to pay for that sin. But a person must repent and trust in Christ's death on the cross as the only reason that they'll be going to Heaven, in order to be saved.
Throughout the course of the preaching I did there that day: Twice an angry fellow ripped the Bible I was holding out of my hands and was going to run away with it until his friends stopped him. Another fellow at one point pushed me off the preaching block I was standing on. But the crowd was on my side, saying that I have the right to do this. And another guy that was sitting next to preaching spot drinking alcohol who tied my shoelaces together while I was preaching. But all these things did was to attract a larger and larger crowd. A crowd of about 100 was listening for about the two hours I preached for, with many of them asking all sorts of questions. And by the end, there were still lots of people listening wanting to hear more, but I got down from the preaching spot (as it was now approaching 5pm (2 hours longer than normal) and we had to make our way to Brisbane city for the outreach there that night) and so we simply handed out tracts to them all.
I had a chat with one fellow afterwards that had been listening and he thought he was going to Heaven, but on the basis of his works. So I explained the gospel to him, and asked him, "If God was to ask you the question: Why should I let you into Heaven, what would you say?" His response showed he still did not understand grace. So I explained it again to him and asked him the same question. This time he understood the gospel and said, "It's only because of Jesus' death on the cross I will go to Heaven!" The man was overjoyed that he now understood the gospel and started believing it. Please keep him in prayer, his name is Fred.
Even though there were just two of us today, God saw fit to allow the gospel to go out. Please pray that God will raise up more laborers to enter His harvest, for the harvest is truly plentiful. If you live nearby and are keen to get involved in this outreach, please do contact me.
To God be the glory!
I thought it might just be me at the coast today, but as I was walking towards Cavil Avenue after parking my car, Blake beeped at me. I was very glad Blake was able to join me today, as it definitely is better witnessing and preaching having another person with you. As I was waiting for Blake to arrive on the esplanade, I handed some tracts to a large group of young people. They wanted to know what it was about and so I asked them whether they thought they were going to go to Heaven. Most said yes, some jokingly said no. The reason why most of them thought they were going to Heaven was because they considered themselves to be good people. So I let them know of the standard that God will judge them after they die and they admitted that they actually deserve Hell. Some of the group were very concerned about this fact, while others remarked that they love sin too much to even consider stopping it. So I shared the news of the cross with the group and talking about how someone can be forgiven if they repent and trust in the death of Jesus alone for their forgiveness.
At this point, another whole group of young people joined in listening to the conversation taking place as they were obviously friends of the people I was talking to. So I explained the message again to everyone to solidify it in their minds.
Just before I got up to preach, a young guy came up and chatted to me and we starting talking about things of eternity. At first he seemed open to the message, however he at random points would just have outbursts of anger and throw the things he was holding around. Possibly something demonic as when I was preaching he so vehemently opposed the Word of God that he got very angry, but when the Word of God was not being spoken about, he would be fine.
Still before I got up to preach, a young girl came and chatted to me, saying that she got 'saved' at age 7 but left Church at age 13. She was now about 15 and realised that she should return, but admitted she just loves sin so much. So I explained how it is so important to receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers as soon as possible for death could happen at any moment and Hell is a very bad place. Then I explained, "But Jesus died to save you from that only if you repent (hate sin instead of loving it, and thus you'll start turning from it) and trust in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross."
An analogy that I like to use to show that it is foolish to choose sin over salvation is this: "Imagine that you are in a house, and you are doing a very fun activity inside. Then you notice the house is getting warmer and there is smoke around, and so you conclude that the house is on fire. Now what would you do: Just sit there because you are doing something so fun, and then you'll get burnt up and die? Or would you run out the house? Obviously run out of the house. In the same way, that is like your life. For it is as if the flames of Hell are coming closer and closer towards you, for the amount of time you have got left to live is getting shorter and shorter. So would you say: 'I would rather keep on sinning' and then you will receive an eternity in Hell? Or would you flee from the flames of Hell by trusting in the death of Jesus, and you will also receive an eternity in Heaven? Which is the better the option?"
I then got up to preach and there was a bunch of hecklers who I was able to engage in a discussion with to draw a larger crowd. These guys were mostly atheistic and some were possibly drunk, but it drew in a rather large crowd to hear the gospel message being preached for 45 minutes.
After having a bite to eat, Blake got up to preach and he preached a brilliant sermon. He started off by getting everyone's attention by telling them there is something they need to hear that is urgent. He preached for 45 minutes and the group of young people that I chatted to at the start of the day had returned and sat and listened to most of what Blake had to say.
To God be the glory!
After arriving at the coast, I read a couple chapters in the Bible and then starting handing out gospel tracts. Dave, a mate whom I have been evangelising with before was up at the Gold Coast with his wife for a few days and was able to join me today.
After a short amount of time, I was in a witnessing encounter with a Jehovah's Witness. He was an older gentleman, but was not really interested in hearing what the Bible had to say. He asked for me to prove the trinity from the Bible, so I pointed to verses like John 1:1, John 8:58, etc. and he simply responded by saying that he thinks I'm taking all those verses out of context. His argument mainly consisted of: The word 'trinity' is not found in the Bible, therefore the Bible does not teach the trinity -- obviously a fallacious argument.
He also tried to redefine what 'trinity' means, by saying that it means God is three in persons and one in persons at the same time. With the straw man view of the trinity that he presented, he then tried pointing to John 14:28 where Jesus says that the Father is greater than He is. So I corrected him repeatedly about the incorrect definition he gave of the trinity. I said that it actually means: Three in persons, one in being - but he wasn't even willing to concede that point. And so with the correct definition of the trinity, that verse does not at all go against it.
He then resorted to pulling out some Watchtower material and said: "See! It says in this pamphlet that the trinity is not in the Bible". So I responded by saying that the Watchtower organisation is not on the same level as Scripture, in fact it's an organisation that has beliefs so contrary to Scripture that it makes them unable to even be called 'Christian'.
At this point in time, a kind gentleman came over and said, "I heard you preaching on Sunday, I'm a Christian on holidays from Melbourne, here is a cool drink for you." It is really cool how God provides these sorts of encouragements along the way. The Jehovah's Witness then left.
I didn't preach at all today because the council had put about 15 bins grouped together around the spot where I usually preach, for no seemingly-obvious reason. However, I did have a great conversation with a guy named Duncan. He grew up in Sydney and had recently moved to the Gold Coast to study advertising at Bond University. He had been to Church a number of times in the past, however he was very confused about the whole thing, and his mother is into witchcraft. So I was able to witness to him and share the wonderful news about Christ dying on the cross for all our sins if we trust that He has done that for us and repent. I made sure that this fellow understood the gospel properly and after sharing with him the hard costs of following Jesus, he made a profession of faith. I chatted with him for almost an hour, please keep this guy in prayer.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!